Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Terms of Endearment


Larry McMurtry is one of the more versatile writers of his generation. It’s true that most of his novels are set in present-day Texas or in the old west, though he has ten novels that are neither, but even those are wildly different. He tends to write them in sets. He followed his masterpiece Lonesome Dove with a prequel and two sequels. After The Last Picture Show came four sequels. (When I saw the title of the third book, Duane’s Depressed, I decided to skip the rest, as I hadn’t even liked Texasville that much). Terms of Endearment is the third in what is called the Houston Series of six. The last, The Evening Star, is a direct sequel, concerning the Shirley MacLaine character, Aurora Greenway. She won Best Actress (I would have voted for Meryl Streep in Silkwood, but maybe that’s because Karen Silkwood was a friend of mine), Jack Nicholson won Supporting Actor, and the movie won Best Picture. (I would have voted for The Right Stuff.) It’s a good film, a tear-jerker, but not high on my list of great films. Nicholson is very good in the rather subdued (for him) role of an ex-astronaut and troublesome neighbor of Aurora and her daughter. Both John Lithgow and Jeff Daniels are fine. It just never really lit a major spark in my heart.